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Slow Recall of GM Vehicles has NHTSA Investigating
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General Motors Co. is being investigated by the National Highway Safety Administration. The NHTSA is investigating why the company took so long to recall more than 1.6 million vehicles after learning that ignition switches were faulty and causing fatal accidents.

An apology was issued on Thursday by GM for not addressing and fixing the problem fast enough. There has been 13 deaths in smaller cars, including the 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt,2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-07 Saturn Ion, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn Sky.


“We deeply regret the events that led to the recall and this investigation,” the automaker said in a statement. “We intend to fully cooperate with NHTSA and we welcome the opportunity to help the agency have a full understanding of the facts. Today’s GM is committed to learning from the past while embracing the highest standards now and in the future.”

Experts in safety are extremely happy with the start of the investigation, which could give GM up to $35 million in fines, but weren’t happy that the NHTSA took so long to take action against the company.

“This is total failure of the recall system,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. “Both GM and NHTSA bear responsibility.”

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The recalled vehicles have ignition switches that can be inadvertently turned from the “run” position to the “accessory” position while the car is being driven. This makes the engine shut down  and all safety systems with it. Power steering, anti-lock brakes and airbags.

According to documents, GM knew of the defective ignition switches as early as 2004, and issued a service bulletin for its dealers in 2005. GM encouraged dealers to tell affected customers to remove all unnecessary items from their key chains. By 2007 there were 10 crashes that GM was aware of, but the automaker didn’t issue its recall until this month. Safety should always be the first priority with dealers and automakers; hopefully GM will take this situation into consideration for the future.

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